Together in Eclipse Bay, a trilogy set on the Oregon coast in the tiny town of Eclipse Bay, follows the lives and loves of two families, the Hartes and the Madisons. Sullivan Harte and Mitchell Madison, the family patriarchs, were once friends and business partners until a woman came between them and set them a-feuding. That feud has endured for three generations, and it is the members of that generation who star in Krentz’s trilogy. The Hartes became wealthy and successful through logic and responsibility; the Madisons were known more for their passionate and wild natures than for their business acumen. The families couldn’t be more night and day.
Eclipse Bay, the first of three novels collected in this single volume, is the story of Hannah Harte, the family do-gooder, and Rafe Madison, the town bad-boy. Eight years earlier they had spent one quite innocent night alone on a beach at the same time a woman was being murdered not far away. When Hannah returns to claim the house her great-aunt left her in her will, she is shocked to learn that Rafe is co-beneficiary and refuses to sell his portion to her. While they tiptoe around their attraction to each other, it is up to them to solve the murder from eight years ago and clear Rafe’s name once and for all.
Dawn in Eclipse Bay features Lillian Harte and Gabe Madison. She’s a soft-hearted matchmaker, he’s a cold and calculating businessman. He needs her services and coerces her into finding him a wife. This, of course, doesn’t work, and he soon realizes that no other woman but Lillian is right for him. Unfortunately, he has to battle Lillian’s strong will and a stalker who is after her, but if any man is up to the challenge, it’s Gabe. Lillian ends up making the match of a lifetime.
Summer in Eclipse Bay wraps up the saga with the tale of Nick Harte, scion of the esteemed Harte family, and Octavia Brightwell, the beautiful relative of the woman who ruined Mitchell and Sullivan’s friendship and business all those years ago. Nick, a successful writer who guards his heart closely, and his son Carson move to town for the summer. Nick is immediately drawn to Octavia, a feisty, sexy art dealer who finds herself caught up in scandal as a mysterious painting disappears from her gallery.
Each of these stories can stand on its own, meaning that the storyline and details of the love story in one book aren’t revealed in either of the other two. Mitchell and Sullivan make several appearances and are quite loveable – and wily – in their dotage, and it is heartwarming to see them rediscover their friendship after so many years and misunderstandings. They do their fair share of meddling in the lives and loves of their grandchildren. Other kooky characters, including a conspiracy-theory nut who keeps detailed logs of the comings and goings of the town’s citizens and a porn-story owner with a heart of gold, pop up throughout the books and add comic relief.
With appealing characters that readers will get to know through the three romances, a beautiful setting, and intriguing plots, Krentz has created a winning series.